Posts Tagged ‘#songwriter’

When we decided to be Personal Touch

As mentioned in the first post of this series, we played original songs in each set. Here is the only recording I am aware of for the song “For Those Who Wait”. We were touring in Corpus Christie Texas and I met with Ric in the afternoon to do a little practice and system fine-tuning. After we were settled he said, ‘hey, whip out the lyrics you are working on. I have a few chords I want to try. We worked for about half an hour going through his chords and arranging them into a song.

In very short time I came up with the melody and we were able to finish the song enough that we performed it later in the tour. I programmed the Yamaha RX7 Drum machine to fit the arrangement. Ann and I sang the lead vocals and Ric did everything else. In the picture above you can see the two silver discs on the lower section of Ric’s guitar. While playing guitar, he would touch one of the silver pads to make a cymbal crash sound from his drum machine and the other one triggered a pre-programmed drum fill pattern for each time he hit the pad. He also kicked bass pedals and triggered string or piano sounds. Pretty amazing when two out of three are just singing to get all that sound.

For “Those Who Wait” by Ric Ahlers and Michael S Kennedy

This is easily the best song I have co-written. Years ago I posted lyrics and said that I wrote this duo for existing country stars at the time. It was my hope to have Dolly Parton and Kenny Rogers do this song. I think it would have blown the charts for the time. But who knows. I think we sounded pretty good.

My first touring band was a trio called Personal Touch

I know I haven’t been posting things for a while, but actually I have been pretty busy. During the Covid lock down I was fortunate to get my writing partners and band mates from The Merchants of Death on-line for Internet jamming. In a while I will post some tunes we recorded live from different cities.

I have also been working with a great friend of mine to re-mix and master a 16 track live recording of the band Euphoria. Those familiar with my blog know that I also played in Euphoria, but I am not in the band at this time. Clint Garcia is the keyboard guru for the band, and when he took a break for a few years, I filled in for him.

When not jamming or mixing I often return to my archive. My recording obsession started around 1970 or so and I have been working for a while reviving very old recordings. I am currently working on my cassette collection. I found the original live recording of Personal Touch performing including what I think is the best song I have ever written. See the lyric post here: https://midimike.com/2015/03/05/per-request-lyric-to-our-bodies-move/ While I have always struggled with naming my songs, this is either called “For Those Who Wait” or “Our Bodies Move”, depending on what I was doing at the time.

We perform a bunch of familiar cover tunes and throw in originals somewhere in each set. I have a few songs from the live Personal Touch recording I will post over the following weeks. This was recorded as I mentioned using a stereo cassette deck running straight off the mixing board. We have no sound tech, so I do the mix from the stage. We ran our sound in stereo even playing live, so I just took the main outs and recorded. Back then I used my home stereo speakers for the monitors and we all fit in a single van to travel. Ahhhhh. The good old times!

Ric Ahlers was my brother-in-law and talked me into buying and learning a synthesizer and an electric piano so we could form a duo. Ric played guitar, sang, and also controlled bass pedals and a drum machine. ( I detailed in an earlier post that he has triggers attached to his guitar so he can make a cymbal crash or a drum roll). I played my 12 string Ovation guitar for some songs, sang and played keyboards for the rest. I also programmed a 2nd drum machine to play a number of songs and could be used to add tom fills or crashes on the spot. Ann Ellis joined the band as our vocalist and soon we hit the road.

Vintage cassette recording of my band Personal Touch performing live

It is a lot of work but we met great people and had a good time playing our songs and doing cover tunes with a personal touch. I think there is a date in here somewhere, so I will try to find it and give you an idea how long ago this was. Enjoy.

Yesterday I overheard a conversation
Between your god and mine.
He said, “I’m not sure where you are going with this,
But I like your design”.

She must have thought that was pretty funny
Cause this was her reply:
“Can’t imagine letting them last forever
So they all had to die”.

“Is that why you closed the gates to Paradise,
To test their devotion”?
“Not at all. Just replaced Salvation with
Worthless Magic Potions”.

Magic Potions became the prize
Magic Potions kept by the wise
Magic Potions from broken math
Magic Potions choosing the path

This went on and on for a very long time.
Quizzing one another.
I just couldn’t help thinking, “what do you expect…..
From sister and brother”?

Magic Potions became the prize
Magic Potions Kept by the wise
Magic Potions from broken math
Magic Potions choosing the path

Yesterday I overheard a conversation
Between your god and mine.
SHe said, “I’m not sure where you are going with this
But it’s better than mine”.

It’s in the music we listen to as we block out the world.
Way beyond the images that flash upon our screens.
Somewhere much further than that is the angst we have created.
Comic book creatures come alive in colorful magazines.

Sure the fables and fairy tales end with stunning song and dance.
Your story will never get off the ground, it seems.
We all keep looking for something that is truly different.
Something you can easily fit inside your pre-paid dreams.

There is no denying what has been
Or we end up living it all over again.
No time to undo how we evolve
So we sit and listen With Quiet Resolve.

Amazed by how many beautiful things have never been heard.
You listen and listen to what has always been there.
There’s so much more to enjoy than a simple one two three four.
Overlooked by many still searching that won’t make the time to care.

There is no denying what has been
Or we end up living it all over again.
No time to undo how we evolve
So we sit and listen With Quiet Resolve.

Magical and mathematical as technical as they come.
What goes into the mix can’t possibly come back out.
Is there really a difference between sunrise and sunset?
When every whisper you’ve made becomes a deafening shout.

No time to undo how we evolve
So sit back and listen With Quiet Resolve.

The path to Peanut Butter Hill in Lindner Park covered in snow 2021

This is a song I co-wrote with a friend of mine from Xenia, Ohio. I sent him the basic tracks via the Internet and he uploaded to his home studio. Scott Hadley from “The Little Hippies” then sang the vocals and helped with arrangement to make this song click. Then he added keyboard parts and harmony tracks and sent individual tracks back to me……

To help me with this song I asked a friend and The Merchants of Death band-mate Mike Wheeler to play bass guitar. He is in Dayton and got the tracks back to me faster than I could have driven there and back! He has a way of finding grooves within the melody of a song that ties it all together.

I wrote “Peanut Butter Hill” on 1-21-2021 as I was walking through the woods near our home. I take walks in the same park almost daily now that I am retired. We spent a lot of time here when our kids were growing up. Walking past a steep hill in the park next to a creek I thought I should write a song about this park. (Well, what about?) As I walked I started thinking that this song is not about me but about the kids that tried climbing the bare-mud side of the hill. A fence stood at the top where the real path was and at the bottom of the hill was a creek that remained mostly dry. Soon the melody hit me and I knew this was a song about peanut butter hill.

Decades ago I challenged my kids and all the neighborhood friends to climb up the hill – but they could not use their hands! When they failed and said it could not be done, I put my hands in my pockets and climbed to the top. So did my daughter TK. The hill is not what it was back then, but I think we were the only ones to meet the challenge, but everyone had fun trying!

“Peanut Butter Hill”

I am working on writing a new song with some friends over the Internet. Recording final tracks now and will release “Peanut Butter Hill” hopefully later this month. 2021 is off to a good start!

Whenever I hear noises or banging
I turn them into a pattern repeating.
Tempos within syncopated phrases
One rhythm falls another raises.

And the timing of all these pieces fit
Each noise becoming an instrument.
The rhythm drives and then grooves
Cycle completed everything moves.

Soon random notes become a melody
And I just can’t resist adding harmony.
The right chords wrap them all together
Within a beat that goes on forever.

Each song I write is for me, you see.
And I’d rather share my songs for free.
Than to follow orders, rules and liars
So I am The Artist and the Buyer.

My fingers begin to tap with my toes
Memories take me wherever it goes.
Past experience and buried emotion
Lyrics melody then explosion.

Another new song is almost complete
A smile on my face I kick up my feet.
Post where no one hears them at all
As I start to feel new noises call.

Each song I write is for me, you see.
And I’d rather share my songs for free
Than to follow orders, rules and liars
So I am The Artist and the Buyer.

Everything I do is wonderful.
Everything I do is fine.
I have learned a lot about myself
Yet so much is undefined.

Is it better to think you should rule it all
Because you are the One Devine?
Are there others that feel the same,
Do they live in A Special Time?

We all live in A Special Time
Where we can follow our own rhyme.
We all live in A Special Time
Make it count, make it shine.

We all hope it goes our way
Be the hero, save the day.
In conversations; every day.
See the same things; the same way.

I have been lost, forgotten, buried.
Memories dark and rotten.
My ears were closed mid-sentence
So I learned to hear without them.

Hearing without them
The bubble expands.
Sunrise to sunset;
The failure of plans

Can you appreciate?
Where so many have knelt?
Never-healing wounds
The enemy has felt?

Paradise is never built
Upon bones we have crushed.
The weak we have preyed upon
The ending we have rushed.

We all live in A Special Time
Where we can follow our own rhyme.
We all live in A Special Time
Make it count, make it shine.

We all hope it goes our way
Be the hero, save the day.
In conversations; every day.
Seeing the same things in the same way.

Holidays are fun with creative people.

I often mention my talented wife and children sprinkled within posts over the years. When the girls were very young we made Christmas and the holidays a creative fest whenever possible. From pumpkin carving parties with over 200 pumpkins, costumes and haunted houses, we put our own flair into everything. We avoided the commercial and traditional.

Each year we would send our many friends a hand-made original Christmas ‘Card’. We would start two months before Christmas to imagine, design and create a unique holiday greeting from our entire family. Many are still hung up or placed on mantels to this day. It is hard to describe so you can get an idea of the projects. One time we made small cloth trees decorated in style with a hook on them so you could hang them as an ornament. Another year we took clear glass ornamental globes and other shaped bobbles and poured paint inside making them sparkle with bright colors and/or glitter on the inside of the glass.

As a musician I built up a small home recording studio over the years. In the lyrics we reference “7 tracks and SMPTE”. I had a digital recorder back then but advanced as it was at the time it only had eight tracks, and one of them you used to record a clock signal so it would sync with the MIDI instruments I had controlled by a hardware sequencer (RECORDING WAS A LOT HARDER IN THOSE DAYS!!!). Every few years I managed to work in a family musical project. Here are two audio recordings we sent as that year’s ‘card’.

This tradition really became a thing and people looked forward to getting their next card, knowing it would be unlike any other they would receive that year, or ever again.

Here is my family recording two Christmas carols for our annual card project. One is a traditional cover of a song you are familiar with. The other is our version of a classic. Even if you aren’t ‘all about Christmas’ and everything, I think you will find this cute and maybe hilarious at the same time.

I wish you all well and hope we can keep lost loved ones close to our hearts and friends and family in our thoughts.

MIDIMIKE

The Kennedy’s carol
The Kennedy’s Original 12 Days

Thinking of the times we were both in school
They said I was an idiot and called you a fool.
In high school you created a vaccine that kept thousands alive
When I was bored I solved problems for the first warp drive.

One time I saw a kid push you around
I thought you would never hit the ground.
I went over to help you up and when I reached out a hand
With a smile you said. “Bodies in motion. Now I understand’.

In class I was asked for money and I had to refuse
That week I came home with cuts and a bruise.
Forget the bedside manners and dispense with the charm
That’s what you meant when you would yell, ‘First, do no harm’.

Bodies In Motion pushed in so many different ways.
Bodies In Motion simply can’t be measured in days.

Bullies and jerks are really nothing new
Feels like so many but there’s only just a few.
Beauties and brats seem to roam free across the range
They appear successful but soon that will also change.

Bodies In Motion pushed in so many different ways.
Bodies In Motion simply can’t be measured in days.

Thinking of the times we were both in school
They said I was an idiot and called you a fool.
In high school you created a vaccine that kept thousands alive
When I was bored I solved problems for the first warp drive.